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Parenting Realities – Expect Delays

On this particular Friday, I was trying to fit in a laundry list of tasks, and like many times on the road, there was once again construction. Lanes blocked, cones everywhere…you know how it goes.

I have to admit that when I am out during the day when my kids are in school and I am trying to fit in one hundred tasks in a short time frame, I like to zip around town. I am a mom on a mission, I put purpose to my pedal…and I DO NOT like slowdowns on the road.

Actually, I don’t like slowdowns anywhere. I am a fast walker, and I want to be productive with my time. I am strategic with my destinations, as I try to avoid crowds at all costs. There is no time to stop for samples in Costco…God bless you if you stop for samples, but you are a roadblock on my mission to conquer my grocery shopping.

Now, please know that I am cautious and alert, and I try to be extra considerate and friendly, but not necessarily leisurely, if you know what I mean. Ok, I think you get the picture here. And yes, I’m aware of my crazy and my shortcomings; I own them and am seeking counsel. Stay with me here.

So, on this particular day, as I approached the section of ongoing construction, there was a sign that read, in all capital letters, “EXPECT DELAYS”. This is a sign I have seen many times on the road, but on this day, I read it in a new way.

What an interesting choice of words…“EXPECT”. They could have just written “delays ahead”, “slow down” or “construction”. But instead, the words chosen were as if they were trying to tell us (the drivers) that you need to have a mental shift here, people… you need to plan…you are about to experience something different than what you usually experience. Prepare yourself.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I thought about this. This was written as if they knew that I had a plan that didn’t include delays! I had intentionally planned to avoid slowdowns. Ugh!  And now they are telling me to “expect delays”. I heard the message loud and clear from Caltrans (the California Department of Transportation)… and I also heard it loud and clear from the Lord.  Sometimes God sends us messages in funny ways.

If only we went into our lives with a flashing sign that said EXPECT DELAYS. Expect slowdowns, detours, road bumps, accidents, anger, hurt, frustration, failure, and disappointment.

I have found over the course of my life that it is when my expectations are unrealistic, when my schedule is overloaded and when I am rushing through life that I find myself feeling like I am sinking. This has been especially true as a parent!

Toddlers don’t give you notice when they are going to throw a tantrum when you are trying to get out the door for an appointment. Teenagers don’t give you a heads up when they come home from school having a social crisis and not wanting to leave the house ever again. Fathers don’t send an Evite with two weeks’ notice, to join them in the hospital for when they have a heart attack. Life happens, whether or not you plan for it.

It is critical to expect delays, slowdowns, and detours. In this, our faith is tested. Do I really trust God with my whole life? Am I willing to follow HIM and HIS will, not my own? If the answer is “yes,” then I must keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and stop trying to be all things to all people all the time.

As long as I am right where God is calling me to be, I need to give permission to myself to let the rest go and know that it is not mine to handle. And YES, that is MUCH easier said than done.  That takes seeking Jesus, being led by the Holy Spirit and asking for God’s wisdom and discernment in each circumstance.

If we can live this way, I believe we can be transformed as followers of Jesus in deeper ways than we can even really comprehend. To ultimately live out the call that God has for our lives.  To experience a glimpse of His Kingdom on this side of Heaven.

To live into the fullness of what He is offering. Oh how I want to live that way and how I want to live that way with my brothers and sisters in Christ, in the community and fellowship that He designed us to live in. Now is the time, friends! Let’s together expect the unexpected.

My prayer for you today is that you will expect delays, create extra space in your schedule and receive the peace and grace that are only found through the transforming love and peace of Jesus. God bless you!

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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  • Sarah Stolyarenko

    Sarah has been walking with the Lord for almost 30 years. She came to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior at Saddleback Church in High School. She is passionate about fulfilling the purpose God has for her life. Sarah has worked with children and youth in some capacity for most of her life. She grew up babysitting for many families, and through the years has volunteered in the Children’s, Junior High, and High School Ministries. As a missionary in Ukraine, Sarah helped to lead a children’s ministry at a small church. When returning from the mission field, Sarah was called to a full-time staff position on the Children’s Ministry Team at Saddleback Church. That was followed by indirectly working with children while on staff at Jana Alayra Music. In most recent years, it has been the greatest joy and privilege of Sarah’s life to be on the mission field of momhood, as a full-time stay-at-home mom, supporting and serving her family. Sarah has been married to her husband Slavic for 22 years, and they live in Mission Viejo, CA with their two children, Baron and Sophia.

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